Jamie Marx is putting out a Jewish hard rock album titled In Pursuit this fall. In the lead-up to the release, the Pennsylvania-based cantor has a Jewish Voices on Rock series on his website. The blog posts are by Marx as well as other contributors, including yours truly.
Jewish Voices on Rock featured my guest post yesterday, “What Goes into a Punk Rock Cover of the Shema?” I discussed the careful considerations Moshiach Oi! had for their rendition of “Shema Yisroel.” Singer Yishai Romanoff avoids saying G-d’s name. “Hear, Israel” turns into “Listen up, you Jews.” With his approach, Romanoff hopes that listeners will “really feel” and “be on fire” for the Shema. I concluded:
When Moshiach Oi! perform “Shema Yisroel” full throttle, they’re not trying to diminish the prayer. They’re reciting a key piece of Jewish liturgy and praising G-d—albeit not in the most straightforward way. They’re using punk rock as a vehicle to excite listeners about Judaism.
Billie Joe [Armstrong, singer of Green Day] begged us for our thoughtful awareness, creating a sense of immediacy and intimacy even among a massive group of people and across a huge distance. He was telling us that we have to make a conscious choice to be present in the moment, to experience the joy and connection and music and message together. He was asking for the same thing rabbis and cantors aim for each and every Friday night when leading services.
Click here to check out other Jewish Voices on Rock posts. There’ll be new posts each week for the next month or so.